My name is Rich Slack. I am not speaking on behalf of the Dallas City Council, but I do serve the City of Dallas as an elected official on the council.
Your newspaper printed a letter Nov. 24 I wrote in opposition to the undergrounding of power lines at a cost of $1.2 million.
Some of my fellow councillors feel that having the title "city councilor" printed under my name may confuse some of your readers into thinking I was speaking on behalf of the council as a whole. I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.
My opinions are my own, and sometimes not popular.
The intent of my previous letter was to keep people informed and maybe fill some of the seats in the audience of future council meetings.
I apologize for any misunderstanding, but not the message.
Thanks to donations by Wells Fargo, the Itemizer-Observer and the Associated Student Body at Dallas High School, eight Dallas High journalists attended the National NWSP/JEA High School Journalism Convention in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 17 to 21.
Besides touring CNN and Martin Luther King's memorial, students attended workshops on layout and design and writing techniques.
Seniors Jodie Holmberg and Alyssa Cudmore presented a session on writing leads to more than 80 of their peers. All students competed in writing or design contests.
Four of the students won honorable mention: Alyssa Cudmore, feature writing; Jody Holmberg, copy editing; Amanda Brundidge, literary magazine, poetry; Samuel Richardson, editorial writing.
Dallas High School
The Polk County Youth Workforce Investment Act Program (WIA) would like to thank the kind-hearted members of our community who donated food to our Thanksgiving food drive.
The youth collected 1850 pounds of food which was distributed between the Dallas and Independence food banks.
We could not have pulled this project off without the gracious hospitality of Kevin Rogers, manager of Roth's in Independence and the rest of the Roth's staff. They allowed us to set up our operation in front of the store for four days and kept us stocked with snacks.
Thank you to Dallas Feed and Seed for providing the barrels used to collect and store the food. I also want to give a shout out to Ed McGill and the gang at Valley Concrete and Gravel for weighing the food for us and Brooks & Terry's for keeping us warm.
Lastly, I want to thank the youth who participated in this food drive. Your participation is magnified by the fact that many of you come from families who are struggling to get by. You have demonstrated true leadership and dedication to your community and to the welfare of others who are in need.
Youth WIA Program
This is how I am met -- along with many many others -- by the guys who work at Dutch Bros. Coffee here in Dallas.
I love going there every morning. The guys that are there Monday to Friday are so full of energy and as much a start to my day as the caffiene they serve. Thanks for being here every morning. You guys make my day.
Leland Veach's letter of Nov 24 prompted me to dig through your archieves for Dale Derouin's letter of Nov 17.
I thought Mr. Derouin's letter was wise and uplifting -- makes you proud to be an American.
I have one question for Mr. Veach. If indeed most of the people across the country are "honest, hard-working people that are trying to live humble lives" (and most people I know are), then how could they re-elect an "arrogant, uncooperative and greedy" national leadership (which most informed observers of goodwill from the other side of the Atlantic will tell you is true)?
Another question, for all readers: Which do you believe in, "Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men" or "Kill or capture the..."?
Exit of U.S. troops from Iraq is overdue. They are tired and stressed out as the war goes on and on and on.
The Iraqis are hostile to our floundering, aimless killing of their people. They have been humiliated by Abu Ghraib as well as the transfer of power sham, occupation of their country and seizure of their resources. Overwhelmingly, they want us to leave.
Many U.S. troops joined the Army so they could an education and improve their lives. Odds are getting greater they will be killed as they are rotated again.
With an unemployment rate at 70 percent, the Iraqi people see the United States bring in foreign workers at high wages.
Many Iraqis join the insurgents to fight their attacker. If the U.S. were invaded, would you defend our beloved land?
Early on, the administration disbanded the Iraqi Army. Now it is trying to train those same people.
Think how our troops feel as they continue to strike at the heart of that poor, devastated country in a war that is unwinnable. So many innocent young soldiers are killed and maimed. So many innocent humans are destroyed.
For what? Oil!
Looking back, I have to laugh. I wanted to "fit in" with the rest of the class. But I never could.
At 15, my I.Q. was tested at more than 187. A year ago, it was about 156. Point is, I was different than most other people and I never could fit in. Not totally.
It is funny now because I realize that it should have been the other way around. Instead of me trying to emulate my peers, they should have been emulating me.
I got into so much trouble and had such a hard time coping. Everybody thought I was nuts. I almost went nuts.
Like a lot of people who find themselves struggling to fit in, I self-medicated. I turned to drugs and alcohol. I always hung out with older people. Had to. Self-preservation.
Older people were not intimidated by my genius or my quirkiness. And unlike my peers, older people were every bit as recalcitrant as I was.
In numerous ways, I related to Jerry Lewis and Eddie Murphy in the movies "The Nutty Professor." Those were passive portrayals of Jekyll and Hyde. Compassionate but angry.
Do I fit in now? A better question might be, fit into what? We all devote a certain amount of ourselves to fitting in. It is a waste of time because we already fit in. Each of us is a member of society, whether we want to be or not. In that sense, we are already in. Some just do it more gracefully than others.
So what does a smart guy do these days? He grows up. I have a book called "Mi Vida Loca, Walk a Mile in My Shoes." It is the story of my life. The first publisher I sent it to bought it. For whatever that is worth.
I have two more books set to be released next year. The first is called "Sheer Genius." It is an answer book in which I reveal my theories and perspectives of the world around us.
One of these theories, the concept that light increases in mass as it slows down, is very important because it relates to magnetism and will make the internal combustion engine obsolete (as it should be).
The other book is a novel called "The Goodtime Girl." It is an important look at World War II and how even the lowest person on the social register had something to contribute to the war effort. It is unlike any story out there.
Do I fit in? On the one hand, I always have. On the other, I never will. I write books. I do research. I am looking at movie deals. That personifies the Great American Dream. But I would trade it all in if I could only go back and live a "normal" childhood.
People think that fame and fortune is the prize at the top of the ladder. The reality is that most people already have everything they need and do not know it. What can be more important than being surrounded by people who care about you?
John Hildreth Atkins
In response to Robert Richard's Nov. 10 letter to the editor:
Not having walked in Mr. Richard's shoes, or he in mine, it is unlikely we could agree on today's political scene. He appears to have carved out a view in which anger plays a large part.
It would also appear he has chosen to do battle with a foe he does not understand.
I readily confess I do not know the definition of "neo-con," but when used in a pejorative manner, it is not necessary to have a definition. Such terms, when used in derision, define the speaker more than the object.
The term "Christian," however, is another matter. To categorize this group gets tricky. This is not a lockstep group. In fact, a more fragmented community does not come readily to mind. Count the churches.
Targeting all Christians is not only unfortunate it is also illogical. It is a shotgun approach, hitting both the innocent and the guilty.
To assume all Christians are out to get you, or wish to deny you the respect for which you seek, does not square with the evidence.
Respect, when earned, is freely given, from whatever source.
To generalize is to err. If someone in Monmouth has harmed me, do I then assume all people living in Monmouth are so inclined?
I think not. Some 80 years of living has taught me otherwise.
A study of the teachings of Jesus will show that the proper Christian way is persuasion, not force. This should not present a problem to those who choose not to agree. I do not see where a "war" is warranted. Maalox, my friend.
In reply to Mr. Ernie Wall. First, I have first-hand and personal knowledge of the events in Polk County that I recounted.
Second, enough of what is enough? Enough concern about where our government is headed?
Enough anger over the 10 to 100 thousand dead in Bush's war based on lies? Enough irritation that the administration is fixated on its own limited thinking agenda to the exclusion of fact? Enough disgust over a record budget deficit that our children and grandchildren will be paying for? What is enough?
Mr. Lawson. Thanks for the entertaining sidebar on science fiction. I assure you that if I could "slip-slide away," it would be tempting to not stay in a reality where the hard-core right wing is in charge.
Regarding your statement that my allegations are not true, I stand by my statements.
Finally, my being part of the solution was to spend about 250 hours engaged in the Kerry campaign prior to the vote. I must disagree that my energy is directed at a negative goal. Thomas Jefferson stated that being critical of the government is a patriot's first duty.
It is not my error that the administration makes it so easy to be critical.
The Dallas City Council will shortly decide whether or not to replace aboveground power poles in the north Dallas intersection with underground power lines.
This proposal has generated some heated discussion. However, a good deal of what has been said is just not accurate.
It does not serve the community to make important public policy decisions on the basis of faulty assumptions. I therefore wish to clarify a few things.
First, this is not only about the physical appearance of the city.
Every power pole that goes away is one less power pole that can be knocked down by an errant driver or taken out of commission by bad weather. For those who remember last winter's extended power outages, this is a not a hypothetical matter.
The second issue has to do with the price tag.
The proposal is to place the power lines underground at the same time that the ground is being ripped open to rebuild the intersection.
Originally, it appeared that by doing both jobs at the same time, the cost of undergrounding could be reduced. But circumstances have changed, and the cost savings no longer apply.
Consequently, the original price tag of $900,000 has increased to $1.2 million. The proposal is to pay for the work by a modest surcharge to electric bills within the city limits.
The additional charge would drop off when the project is completely paid for, in twenty years or so.
This nation came about partly in reaction to "taxation without representation."
That just means we don't believe that people should be forced to pay for something they have no voice in approving. (Just say the words "unfunded mandate" to anyone in state or local government and watch their reaction!)
I have heard it argued in some quarters that "the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for this." This is a red herring.
If we're going to discuss this, let's be precise about it: this proposal has nothing to do with the taxpayers.
Undergrounding would not be paid for by the city, nor by the taxpayers. It would be paid for by electric ratepayers in the city of Dallas. While the two certainly overlap, they are not one and the same.
Not everyone who pays taxes pays for electricity, and not everyone who pays for electricity pays taxes. It is the ratepayers who will have to foot this bill, and it is they and no one else who should get to determine whether or not the project goes forward.
My own personal belief is that the project should proceed.
Speaking only for myself, I'm willing to foot my share of the bill to make our city a more attractive place to live and work and to assure a safer power supply. But it isn't up to me either.
I urge the electric rate payers of Dallas to make their wishes known to the city council before it decides this question Dec. 6.